Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Life’s Too Short – Surprise Me, Ultraluminous, All the Crooked Saints

December 8, 2017 Bonnie Book Reviews, Life's Too Short 5 Comments

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Life’s Too Short – Surprise Me, Ultraluminous, All the Crooked SaintsSurprise Me by Sophie Kinsella
Published by Dial Press on February 13th 2018
Pages: 432
Genres: Chick-Lit
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
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Also by this author: Wedding Night, My Not So Perfect Life

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After being together for ten years, Sylvie and Dan have all the trimmings of a happy life and marriage; they have a comfortable home, fulfilling jobs, beautiful twin girls, and communicate so seamlessly, they finish each other's sentences. However, a trip to the doctor projects they will live another 68 years together and panic sets in. They never expected "until death do us part" to mean seven decades.

In the name of marriage survival, they quickly concoct a plan to keep their relationship fresh and exciting: they will create little surprises for each other so that their (extended) years together will never become boring. But in their pursuit to execute Project Surprise Me, mishaps arise and secrets are uncovered that start to threaten the very foundation of their unshakable bond. When a scandal from the past is revealed that question some important untold truths, they begin to wonder if they ever really knew each other after all.

DNF @ 25%

The only thing that came as a surprise was this DNF.

Honestly, I only read as much as I did because of my love of Kinsella. You know those stories that start off fairly mediocre and you just keep thinking (in this case, HOPING) that it’ll get better? It started off mildly intriguing: life is perfect for this couple, they have two beautiful children, good jobs, a happy life, and they even complete one another’s sentences. *groan* The two go to the doctor to get physicals at which point the doctor informs them they are perfectly healthy and they should plan on living long, long lives. Then he says: “You should have sixty-eight more wonderful years of marriage!” And then everything goes wrong. Because of course, they didn’t even consider the fact that they’d live that long, never thought about long-term being that long when it came to being married.

“We’ve got so much time.”
“But what are we going to do with it, Sylvie? How are we going to fill the endless, soulless years of mindless drone work? Where’s the joy in our lives?” He looks around the kitchen with a questing gaze, as though it might be in a jar labeled joy, next to turmeric.

Even though everything is perfectly fine and they have happy lives, now they have to deal with the concept that they’re going to have to be with one another for SO LONG. Come on. Hello, till death do us part? This is why everyone fucking gets divorced these days. Nobody stops to consider what it actually means, what you’re committing to, argh. I just found the whole concept stupid. And I’m sure they get over it and get back to being perfectly happy with their kids and white picket fence but I didn’t really care if they worked it out or not. Plus? There was this weird obsession with her dead father and lines like this:

‘Here in the privacy of my own mind, where no one else can hear, I can say it: To the outside world, Dan isn’t in the same league as my father. He doesn’t have the gloss, the money, the stature, the charitable achievements.’

Not just comparing your father to your husband, who in your mind is lacking in comparison, but comparing your dead father to your husband… nope. I’m done.

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Life’s Too Short – Surprise Me, Ultraluminous, All the Crooked SaintsUltraluminous: A Novel by Katherine Faw Morris, Katherine Faw
Published by MCD on December 5th 2017
Pages: 176
Genres: Contemporary
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
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Also by this author: Young God

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Girlfriend. Prostitute. Addict. Terrorist? Who is K?

Ultraluminous, the daring new novel from Katherine Faw, the brilliant author of Young God, follows one year in the life of a high-end, girlfriend-experience prostitute. She has just returned to her native New York City after more than a decade abroad—in the capitals of Asia and the Middle East, her last stop Dubai, with a man she recalls only as the Sheikh—but it’s unclear why exactly she’s come back. Did things go badly for her? Does she have scores to settle?

Regardless, she has quickly made herself at home. She’s set up a rotation of clients—all of them in finance, and each of whom has different delusions of how he is important to her. And she’s also met a man whom she doesn’t charge—a damaged former Army Ranger, back from Afghanistan, and a fellow long-time heroin addict.

Her days are strangely orderly: a repetition of dinners, personal grooming, museum exhibitions, sex, Duane Reades (she likes the sushi), cosmology, sex, gallery shows, heroin, sex, and art films (which she finds soothing). The pattern is comforting, but does she really believe it’s sustainable? Or do the barely discernible rifts in her routine suggest that something else is percolating under the surface? Could she have fallen for one of her bankers? Or do those supposed rifts suggest a pattern within the pattern, a larger scheme she’s not showing us, a truth that won’t be revealed until we can see everything?

DNF @ 6%

I read Young God, so I did know what I was getting into by requesting this one. Or at least I thought I did. Ultraluminous is the story of a prostitute named K who makes up a different name for each new guy. No one else in this story has an actual name either. There’s the bodega guy. The art guy. The calf’s brain guy. The guy who buys’s me things. The junk-bond guy. I understand that the character herself named these characters as such as a lack of caring, deeming it unnecessary to know them personally given her job, but it resulted in an odd experience when reading about it. Her stories about each guy are told in snippets with little to no differentiation between each, almost as if it was a string of her recalling these memories instead of living them in real-time. It was easy to fall into this story and ride this strange stream of consciousness type wave but it was hard to find any entertainment in the sparseness.

I received this book free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Life’s Too Short – Surprise Me, Ultraluminous, All the Crooked SaintsAll the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater
Published by Scholastic Press on October 10th 2017
Pages: 320
Genres: Magical Realism
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
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Also by this author: Shiver, Forever, The Raven Boys

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Here is a thing everyone wants: a miracle.Here is a thing everyone fears: what it takes to get one.

Any visitor to Bicho Raro, Colorado is likely to find a landscape of dark saints, forbidden love, scientific dreams, miracle-mad owls, estranged affections, one or two orphans, and a sky full of watchful desert stars.

At the heart of this place you will find the Soria family, who all have the ability to perform unusual miracles. And at the heart of this family are three cousins longing to change its future: Beatriz, the girl without feelings, who wants only to be free to examine her thoughts; Daniel, the Saint of Bicho Raro, who performs miracles for everyone but himself; and Joaquin, who spends his nights running a renegade radio station under the name Diablo Diablo.

They are all looking for a miracle. But the miracles of Bicho Raro are never quite what you expect.

DNF @ page 42

The moment I realized I wasn’t going to be able to finish a Stiefvater and I’d be forced to DNF:

I started this immediately when I got it but set it aside after a few pages. I thought it was because, at the time, I was in the midst of a major book slump so I attributed it to that but I had serious problems this time around as well. All the Crooked Saints is this strange, unexpected sort of magical realism. For me though, magical realism needs to be centered in realism. The magical aspects need to feel like a different type of reality but something that’s wholly possible. The magical realism here was just bizarre and out there and simply didn’t work for me. Also, the characters themselves were completely unlikable and were ridiculously pretentious. But there were a few lines I saved and a few lines I saw saved on Goodreads that caused a raised eyebrow or two:

‘She was so mean that she even killed her own name, and now people just pointed to her.’

‘She had been wearing artificial eyelashes in the womb and when they had fallen off in the birth canal, she had lost no time in replacing them.’

‘She formed pots out of clay that were so striking that sometimes, when she went to gather clay for a new one, she discovered that the clay had eagerly already begun to shape itself for her. Her voice was so well trained that bulls would lie down when they heard her sing. […] She could ride two horses at the same time, one leg on each horse, and still hold down her skirt to maintain her modesty, if she felt like it. Her segueza, developed from an ancient recipe, was so excellent that time itself stood still while you were eating it in order to savor the flavor along with you.’

Some may read these lines and think they’re gorgeous, but I can’t deal with an entire book full of that. Even a Stiefvater.

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Waiting on Wednesday – All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater

June 7, 2017 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday, YA 6 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – All the Crooked Saints by Maggie StiefvaterAll the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater
Published by Scholastic Press on October 10th 2017
Pages: 320
Genres: Fantasy
Format: Hardcover
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Also by this author: Shiver, Forever, The Raven Boys

From bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater, a gripping tale of darkness, miracles, and family!

Saints. Miracles. Family. Romance. Death. Redemption.

The book takes place in the 1960s in Bicho Raro, Colorado and follows the lives of three members of the Soria family—each of whom is searching for their own miracle. There’s Beatriz, who appears to lack feelings but wants to study her mind; Daniel, the “Saint” of Bicho Raro, a miracle worker for everyone but himself; and Joaquin (a.k.a. Diablo Diablo), who runs a pirate radio station at night.

"The Soria family are saints as well, and the miracle they perform for pilgrims to Bicho Raro is as strange as most miracles are: They can make the darkness inside you visible. Once the pilgrims see their inner darkness face to face, it’s up to them to perform another miracle on themselves: banishing the darkness for good. It can be a tricky business to vanquish your inner demons, even once you know what they are, but the Sorias are forbidden to help with this part. They’ve all been told that if a Soria interferes with the second miracle, it will bring out their own darkness, and a saint’s darkness, so the story goes, is a most potent and dangerous thing." - Maggie Stiefvater, EW interview.

About Maggie Stiefvater

I am Maggie Stiefvater. I write books. Some are about dead Welsh kings. Some are about werewolf nookie. Some are about neither.

I have been a wedding musician, a technical editor, a portrait artist, and, for several fraught weeks, a waitress. I play several musical instruments (most infamously, the bagpipes), I still make art, and I recently acquired and unacquired a race car.

I live in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia with my husband, my two children, some cows, three dogs who fart recreationally, a criminally insane cat, an interminable number of miniature silky fainting goats, and one 1973 Camaro named Loki.

I like things that go.

I’m nearing the point where I’m about to run out of any back Stiefvater to read (all I have left is Lament and Ballad!) so this is a welcome sight. “Saints. Miracles. Family. Romance. Death. Redemption.” is more than enough summary for me to get anxious.

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What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

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Book Review – The Raven King (The Raven Cycle #4) by Maggie Stiefvater

June 9, 2016 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2016, YA 1 Comment

Book Review – The Raven King (The Raven Cycle #4) by Maggie StiefvaterThe Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Raven Cycle #4
Published by Scholastic Press on April 26th 2016
Pages: 448
Genres: Fantasy
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
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Also by this author: Shiver, Forever, The Raven Boys

three-stars

The fourth and final installment in the spellbinding series from the irrepressible, #1 New York Times bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater.

All her life, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love's death. She doesn't believe in true love and never thought this would be a problem, but as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she's not so sure anymore.

In a starred review for Blue Lily, Lily Blue, Kirkus Reviews declared: "Expect this truly one-of-a-kind series to come to a thundering close."

The Raven Cycle series

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1) [PurchaseReview]
The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle, #2) [PurchaseReview]
Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle, #3) [PurchaseReview]

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SPOILERS AHEAD

 “He was a book, and he was holding his final pages, and he wanted to get to the end to find out how it went, and he didn’t want it to be over.”

We finally come to the end of the Cycle, whether we like it or not. The search for Glendower, for the lost King buried somewhere along the ley line in Virginia, comes to an end. Gansey has been searching for Glendower since he was stung to death by hornets and was miraculously brought back. “You will live because of Glendower. Someone else on the ley line is dying when they should not, and so you will live when you should not.” They are the words that have haunted him and kept up his mysterious search even when it seemed that all hope was lost. But he’s not the only one on this strenuous journey: Ronan, the dream thief, Adam, who gave his free will to Cabeswater, and Blue, who saw Gansey’s ghost before she even knew who he was and knew that he’s either Blue’s true love or she’s the one that kills him.

“What a strange constellation they all were.”

I’ve always praised this series for its fascinating way of blending magical with the contemporary and making it something anyone could believe in. Somewhere in the middle of The Raven King though, the magical hold these stories had on me died. That carefully created magic suddenly became frenzied and befuddling, leaving me grasping at straws to understand it, meanwhile watching as the story left me in its dust. The other magical aspect of this novel though is the vast amount of characters and how incredibly well developed each and every one of them are. The stories had always been centered around finding the lost King, waking him, and having him grant them a single wish. Slowly, as time progressed the friends began to realize that while they were still on an active search for Glendower, they no longer needed his aid because they had each other and they were more powerful together than they had ever realized before.

“This was where they were now: Nightmares were real. There was no difference between dreams and reality when they stood here in Cabeswater together.”

And as far as the romances, what an accomplished example of true friendship and romance going hand in hand. One never overpowered the other; they existed together in perfect harmony. Blue and Gansey. I adored reading about the short time on page that they did spend together in each others company. They nestled together like two puzzle pieces. Ronan and Adam. While these two didn’t come as a great surprise, it was still a delight to see it come to fruition. While Ronan has always kept his feelings under-wrap, I felt it essentially dulled the spark that I wanted to feel between them. That powerful realization of when they both recognize where their friendship has come to felt subdued and I wanted so much more for those two.

When Maggie Stiefvater started this series, The Raven Boys set the scene for powerful things to come. Magical things. And while the magic continued to linger, all of the predictions that were made and the expectations that were set all seemed to become entangled and left without any satisfactory explanation. I felt it was anti-climactic and made everything that came before inconsequential. These friends endured loss and suffered greatly in their adventures to discover Glendower and the buoyant tone the ending set felt almost contradictory to what the other novels established. The fervor and seriousness of the first installments set expectations for the ending which ended up vastly contrasting from what was given. I liked the impression left, that the friends’ journey wasn’t over and that many adventures were still to come, but it was hard to truly appreciate it when my mind was still wrapped up in how their previous adventures had “ended”. Add to that was the lack of closure for several other characters: Blue’s father, Gwenllian, the Grey Man and Maura, and Noah. Noah played such a vital part in this story yet he not only wasn’t given a mention of an ending but I expected the group to at least have some momentary thought for his sudden absence in their lives after so much time. Even Adam’s unworthy parents were given a semblance of an ending and that was wholly unnecessary.

My issues and my praises for this novel stack up pretty evenly in the end. I can only imagine how difficult it is to write such a sprawling story with so many highly-developed characters only to have to find some adequate way of bringing their stories to an end. Stiefvater sets this story up with the expectation of extraordinary magic only to have it taper off into something less extraordinary by the end. The Raven Cycle is a highly imaginative tale that showcases Stiefvater’s impressive abilities of bringing any character to life. Despite it all, I’m still sad to have to say goodbye.

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Book Review – Sinner (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #4) by Maggie Stiefvater

November 14, 2014 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2014, YA 2 Comments

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review – Sinner (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #4) by Maggie StiefvaterSinner by Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Wolves of Mercy Falls #4
Published by Scholastic Press on July 1st 2014
Pages: 373
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Werewolves
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
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Also by this author: Shiver, Forever, The Raven Boys

two-half-stars

A standalone companion book to the internationally bestselling Shiver Trilogy.

Sinner follows Cole St. Clair, a pivotal character from the #1 New York Times bestselling Shiver Trilogy. Everybody thinks they know Cole's story. Stardom. Addiction. Downfall. Disappearance. But only a few people know Cole's darkest secret -- his ability to shift into a wolf. One of these people is Isabel. At one point, they may have even loved each other. But that feels like a lifetime ago. Now Cole is back. Back in the spotlight. Back in the danger zone. Back in Isabel's life. Can this sinner be saved?

The Wolves of Mercy Falls series

Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #1) by Maggie Stiefvater {PurchaseReview}
Linger (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #2) by Maggie Stiefvater {Purchase}
Forever (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #3) by Maggie Stiefvater {PurchaseReview}

“I can’t change the way I’m made. I’m a performer, a singer, a werewolf, a sinner.”

In this new companion installment in the Wolves of Mercy Falls series, Cole St. Clair, the bad boy you can’t help but love, travels to Los Angeles to seek out Isabel for a fresh start and to jump-start his career with a new album. Cole signs on with an Internet reality TV producer (think TMZ) named Baby North who intends to tape his daily life in hopes of being able to get his anticipated relapse caught on tape.

‘It was the first time I’d really realized I’d lost my soul and that the beauty of not having a soul was that you couldn’t seem to care that you no longer had one.’

Sinner was a book that no one expected to ever exist. The Wolves of Mercy Falls series was completely and sufficiently wrapped up years ago, and if you’re of the same opinion as I, it never should have actually gone past book one. No installments following the first were anywhere close to the caliber of Shiver but they were still enjoyable enough and worth the read. Sinner is indeed a stand-alone/companion novel, and even though it has been years since I read the series I was able to quickly catch up following the brief backstory Stiefvater provides to get her readers up to speed. Cole and Isabel’s story and how it was left in Forever, while a bit open to interpretation and not given a concrete finish, didn’t exactly warrant an entire book. I believe the level of enjoyment of Sinner is going to be based solely on whether or not Cole and Isabel were personal favorites of yours from the series. Cole and Isabel’s story is finally given a solid conclusion, albeit a very neatly wrapped up one. Considering the two are quite a damaged duo, I wasn’t expecting that in the least. I also wasn’t expecting this story to involve more about the ‘hazards of fate’, what with Cole being on a reality show than about the romance between our two main characters. It was an interesting inclusion but not exactly a welcome one because it felt more superfluous than anything in an attempts to make this a full-length novel.

All in all, unfortunately, I think we could have done without this installment. I’ll always retain fond memories of Shiver though.

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Book Review – Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle #3) by Maggie Stiefvater

November 13, 2014 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2014, YA 2 Comments

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review – Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle #3) by Maggie StiefvaterBlue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Raven Cycle #3
Published by Scholastic Press on October 21st 2014
Pages: 400
Genres: Fantasy
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: Shiver, Forever, The Raven Boys

four-stars

There is danger in dreaming. But there is even more danger in waking up.

Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs.

The trick with found things though, is how easily they can be lost.

Friends can betray.
Mothers can disappear.
Visions can mislead.
Certainties can unravel.

The Raven Cycle series

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater {PurchaseMy Review}
The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2) by Maggie Stiefvater {PurchaseMy Review}

“…three sleepers –light, dark and in between. The knowledge that Artemus was underground. The certainty that no one was coming out of those caverns unless fetched. The realization that Blue and her friends were part of something huger, something vast and stretching and slowly waking — “

In Blue Lily, Lily Blue, the third in an anticipated four installments, things are beginning to culminate in the most unlikeliest of ways for Blue and the boys. Blue’s mother, Maura, has been gone for the last several months on a mysterious personal quest that she informed no one about, leaving behind a cryptic note which states far too simply “Glendower is underground. So am I.” In their continued search for Glendower, the three sleepers and now also for Blue’s mother, the group discovers that there won’t likely be an easy solution to this chaos they’ve immersed themselves in.

“Queens and kings
Kings and queens
Blue lily, lily blue
Crowns and birds
Swords and things
Blue lily, lily blue”

 This series continues to be truly amazing. I admit, I wasn’t sold on it at first because it was really quite strange and the concept of the story is not an easy one to wrap your head around. “So, basically, this ancient Welsh King managed to get himself buried in Virginia of all places because of this mysterious ley line that runs through the town and some prep school boys and their friend Blue are all trying to hunt him down because the one who wakens him gets a wish. Yeah, kind of like a genie, I guess.” Strange, right? I thought so. But wow, so incredibly original, utterly convincing, compulsively readable and possessing a most impressive depth to the whole magical tale. It’s a very convoluted series with various different storylines all playing at once but Maggie Stiefvater is an absolute pro at making everything clear and vivid. This entire series is such an intense experience, I’m so very anxious to see how all the pieces fall in the final installment.

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Book Review – The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2) by Maggie Stiefvater

September 20, 2013 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2013, YA 2 Comments

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review – The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2) by Maggie StiefvaterThe Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Raven Cycle #2
Published by Scholastic Press on September 17th 2013
Pages: 416
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: Shiver, Forever, The Raven Boys

four-stars

The second installment in the all-new series from the masterful, #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater!

If you could steal things from dreams, what would you take?

Ronan Lynch has secrets. Some he keeps from others. Some he keeps from himself.

One secret: Ronan can bring things out of his dreams.

And sometimes he's not the only one who wants those things.

Ronan is one of the raven boys - a group of friends, practically brothers, searching for a dead king named Glendower, who they think is hidden somewhere in the hills by their elite private school, Aglionby Academy. The path to Glendower has long lived as an undercurrent beneath town. But now, like Ronan's secrets, it is beginning to rise to the surface - changing everything in its wake.

The Raven Cycle series

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1) {My Review}

The Dream Thieves is the story of a boy with the ability to make his dreams a reality, of a continued quest to uncover the lost Welsh King and the realization that time may be running out.

I loved The Raven Boys, however, I found the ending to be far too abrupt and introduced a fascinating storyline that just didn’t give me enough. It felt like a pilot episode and left me eager for more but also left me disappointed. The Dream Thieves definitely solved that and then some. When I started this book I noticed a lack of a refresher and I struggled to recall particular details from The Raven Boys. I actually found a fabulous recap written by Maggie Stiefvater herself (here if you’re interested) but oddly enough I ultimately didn’t need it. While TDT is a continuation and second installment of a series it felt separate and completely new from the storyline that was previously established.

What I loved most about this story was it took an even bigger leap into the fantasy and magical aspects whereas The Raven Boys merely trod the line. While fantasy is not my go-to genre, this type of fantasy is done in such a conventional way that blends well with the contemporary background the story is set in; it doesn’t ever seem clunky and out of place. It’s such a wonderfully inventive type of magic too. The ability to draw items from your dreams and have them become a reality? I love it.

One thing which was done differently in TDT was that so much focus was placed on Ronan and Adam that the other characters became secondary characters and were oftentimes unessential. Blue’s mother Maura and her fellow psychics had more of a place in the story than Blue herself and Noah was practically nonexistent (except for one incredibly unforgettable scene *sniff*). While I missed the shared distribution of characters, I did enjoy this in-depth look into Ronan and finding out what makes him tick. Two new adversarial characters share a bit of the spotlight though: a fellow Aglionby student, Joseph Kavinsky, a ticking time bomb that is unknowingly affecting their search for Cabeswater and The Grey Man who is searching for the same thing.

With a double dose of fantasy in a contemporary world and a hint of romance and eternal friendship, The Dream Thieves is an exciting follow-up to a spectacular series. It is a gorgeously written story with such a fresh and unique feel to it and of course sets the scene perfectly for the next book which I am already anticipating.

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Early Review – The Raven Boys (Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater

September 16, 2012 Bonnie Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2012, YA 2 Comments

I received this book free from a Giveaway in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Early Review – The Raven Boys (Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie StiefvaterThe Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Raven Cycle #1
Published by Scholastic Press on September 18th 2012
Pages: 409
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
Format: ARC
Source: a Giveaway
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Shiver, Forever, The Dream Thieves

four-stars

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

Easily one of the most hyped books of the year, Maggie Stiefvater’s first installment in her Raven Cycle series was high on my to-read list. I wasn’t left disappointed but as far as first installments go it could have been better.

Blue Sargent is a non-seer but has the gift of being able to amplify other seers powers. On the Eve of St. Mark’s Day Blue’s mother, a clairvoyant, sits watch over the churchyard all night to watch the ghosts of those that will be passing over in the next year. Blue accompanies her mother even though she’s not able to see any of the ghosts. Except she does this year. A boy wearing the uniform from Aglionby Academy named Gansey; a Raven Boy. And the only reason a non-seer would see a spirit is he’s either Blue’s true love or she’s the one that kills him.

Gansey, Adam, Ronan, and Noah (otherwise known as The Raven Boys) have their own mystery to add into the mix. Gansey has become obsessed over the years with finding the local ley line and believes that once found he will be able to locate an ancient and mythical sleeping king and that he will grant him a wish.

Despite the initial hint at romance, it never actually made an appearance. It was a nice change from the typical though. I was loving the whole Practical Magic feel and loved Blue and her eclectic household. The group of boys aptly named the Raven Boys were quite charming and reminded me a lot of the group of friends in The Secret History (at least before the whole sleeping king granting wishes came into play). The multiple storylines were intriguing, nicely written and converged well with one another. The only problem is it is a bit slow-going at first so patience may be required for some. Also, fans of Maggie Stiefvater may find that The Raven Boys is missing some of her beautiful prose that she’s so famous for.

I would have gladly given this a solid 4 stars; however, I had one HUGE problem. I wouldn’t say that there’s a huge cliffhanger, but more that there isn’t actually any resolution to be seen. No conclusion. No answers. I understand that this is the first in the series but it definitely had the feel of a pilot episode and despite the fact that I will still be waiting with bated breath for the next installment I really wish we would have been given more.

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Book Review – Forever (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #3) by Maggie Stiefvater

April 25, 2012 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2012, YA 1 Comment

Book Review – Forever (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #3) by Maggie StiefvaterForever by Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Wolves of Mercy Falls #3
on July 12, 2011
Pages: 400
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Shiver, The Raven Boys, The Dream Thieves

then.
When Sam met Grace, he was a wolf and she was a girl. Eventually he found a way to become a boy, and their loved moved from curious distance to the intense closeness of shared lives.

now.
That should have been the end of their story. But Grace was not meant to stay human. Now she is the wolf. And the wolves of Mercy Falls are about to be killed in one final, spectacular hunt.

forever.
Sam would do anything for Grace. But can one boy and one love really change a hostile, predatory world? The past, the present, and the future are about to collide in one pure moment - a moment of death or life, farewell or forever.

The Wolves of Mercy Falls series

Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #1)Linger (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #2)

Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #1)
Linger (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #2)

Forever: the final installment in the Wolves of Mercy Falls series and the final story of Grace and Sam.

Final Thoughts
Despite struggling profusely with this one there is no denying this was still a beautifully written story. Maggie’s writing appears flawless and effortless… the words simply flow.

The Bottom Line
As you can see by my rating, Forever didn’t leave me with the warm fuzzies I had after Linger and especially after Shiver. It was too jumbled for me and a bit lacking in overall focus. I think that this is primarily due to the multi-POVs that didn’t work for me this time around even though there were just about as many in Linger… it just made the story feel all over the place.

Too much time was spent focusing on Isabel and Cole when I desperately needed/wanted more about Grace and Sam. It also seemed like there was too much extra information being doled out that was distracting from the main storyline. Bottom line: it felt very forced.

The Romance
I didn’t feel the strong connection that I was used to between Grace and Sam (view spoiler) And I found it strange how Grace/Sam would be thinking about how much they loved him/her or how much they missed him/her when separated yet they never really showed it. I realize that it was done so in a way to show that they both know and understand each other so much that actions aren’t required but being a bit more vocal about it would have brought back the warm fuzzies for me. 🙂

Despite my issues, I’m still glad that I finally read these stories and experienced Maggie’s writing firsthand. Even though Grace and Sam’s story is officially over it will be hard to ever forget it.

‘And then I did laugh, even though the future was a dangerous place, because I loved her, and she loved me, and the world was beautiful.’

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Book Review – Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #1) by Maggie Stiefvater

February 27, 2012 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2012, YA 0 Comments

Book Review – Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #1) by Maggie StiefvaterShiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Wolves of Mercy Falls #1
Published by Scholastic Press on August 1, 2009
Pages: 400
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Forever, The Raven Boys, The Dream Thieves

five-stars

For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf—her wolf—is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without.

Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human… until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human—or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

‘I didn’t think I belonged here in her world, a boy stuck between two lives, dragging the dangers of the wolves with me, but when she said my name, waiting for me to follow, I knew I’d do anything to stay with her.’

There was something incredibly beautiful about Maggie Stiefvater’s writing style… I found myself completely mesmerized. I definitely have a soft spot in my heart for beautifully written stories that fill me with a deep longing… and this one definitely did it. Sam and Grace’s passion was palpable and heartbreaking. These too definitely had a connection that lacked an easy explanation; it just was.

As this is the first time I’ve read Shiver, I’ve heard opinions about this book from every end of the spectrum. The one that stuck out the most for me was that it was ‘Twilight’ rewritten if Bella were to have went with Jacob instead of Edward. Being that I have now personally read ‘Shiver’ and can formulate my own opinion I can see some slight similarities but there was a depth to the characters and the story itself that was sorely lacking in Twilight… plus the writing itself was on a completely different level.

Incredibly enjoyable, I loved every minute of it. I can’t help but wonder though what the next installment will bring. If I didn’t know that the second (and third) book was already released I would have been completely content with how this story ended. I suppose we shall see. 🙂

‘I closed my eyes. For a brief moment I wished with all my heart that he was just a normal boy, so that I could storm away with my pride and indignation. But he wasn’t. He was as fragile as a butterfly in autumn, waiting to be destroyed by the first frost.’

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